411's Fighter of the Month 9.10.12: August
Posted by Larry Csonka on 09.10.2012
Ronda Rousey took Sarah Kaufman’s arm home, Ben Henderson is still the UFC lightweight champion and Lyoto Machida ended Ryan Bader’s hopes at a title shot! But who won 411's Fighter of the Month? Check out the full article to find out!
How It Works
Each staff member picks five fighters and ranks them. I'll assign a point value to those rankings. Points are determined as:
1st - 5
2nd - 4
3rd - 3
4th - 2
5th - 1
The fighter with the most points is our Fighter of the Month and then new points are assigned that will go towards Fighter of the Year. Those points are:
1st - 15
2nd - 12
3rd - 9
4th - 6
5th - 3
6th – 1
The Voting Larry Csonka
1) Ronda Rousey
I strongly felt that Sarah Kaufman would be Ronda Rousey's toughest opponent to that date, and at the end of the day, I was wrong. Rousey rushed her, took her to the mat and locked her in the arm bar and finished her in less than one minute. I am pretty sure Ronda Rousey is considered "unfuckwithable."
2) Lyoto Machida: Lyoto Machida easily took out Ryan Bader, and was the big winner at UFC on FOX 4. He technically earned a title shot with the victory, but whether he gets it after al of the UFC 151 drama is another story for another day.
3) Benson Henderson: While some feel he lost the fight, according to the judges, Benson Henderson is still the UFC Lightweight Champion.
4) Attila Vegh: Was impressive defeating Travis Wiuff in the Bellator Light Heavyweight finals.
5) Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza: BOOM goes the dynamite!
1) Ronda Rousey:
Though the competition for Fighter of the Month wasn't particularly strong throughout August, Ronda Rousey still deserves a ton of credit for annihilating yet another top female contender. Sarah Kaufman may have the lack the ‘big' wins on her numerically impressive record, but beating her is still easier said than done – or so we thought! When you're as talented as Rousey, though, ‘saying it' probably takes longer than actually ‘doing it', and 54 seconds was all that elapsed before the Olympic bronze medal snatched another arm to add to the collection. It all just looks so easy!
2) Benson Henderson: Benson Henderson's pair of victories over Frankie Edgar may have been unconvincing to some, but nobody should question Henderson's ability – the guy is a phenom, and right up there with Edgar for the top lightweight fighter in the world. Now that Edgar has dropped to featherweight, expect Henderson to reign supreme at 155 lbs for some time to come.
3) Lyoto Machida: Lyoto Machida usurped ‘Shogun' Rua as the number one contender to Jon Jones' Light Heavyweight title, a clinical KO of Ryan Bader sealing the deal. Aside from Stephan Bonnar, Machida remains the only man to even remotely test Jones, and it will be interesting to see if he's formulated a different strategy the second time around.
4) Attila Vegh: Attila Vegh's fights seem to go one of two ways – he either obliterates his opponents in seconds, or narrowly scrapes through on points… either way, he tends to win, and his performance against Travis Wiuff in the Bellator Light Heavyweight finals was certainly eye-opening. Wiuff is a great veteran with a strong record and some truly noteworthy wins under his belt, but Vegh steamrolled him with ease. I'd be very surprised if he didn't open up as a sizeable favorite against Christian M'Pumbu, and even more surprised if he doesn't take home the belt.
5) Donald Cerrone: ‘The Cowboy' is badass. It's official. Melvin Guillard had Cerrone on the ropes after showing he can strike with ANYONE at 155 lbs, but he couldn't close the fight out, and he paid for it! Cerrone blitzed Guillard with a phenomenal striking display that would be worthy of gracing any great highlight reel, and having done it after getting hurt? Wow, just wow!
1) Ronda Rousey:
Rousey about a year ago talked about becoming the new face of women's MMA with the absence of Gina Carano. And here we are and that's actually a reality. Many were ready to write off Rousey since she's such an outspoken figure and the true, pure mixed martial artist in Sarah Kaufman would put her out and people would be talking about on Sunday how over-hyped Rousey was. Well that didn't happen as Rousey got another first round submission victory over Sarah Kaufman.
2) Lyoto Machida: Many were already overlooking Machida's fight with Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4. Many even questioned what kind of condition Machida was in for the fight since he came weighing in less than usual and looked sluggish and lethargic at the weigh-ins. In the end however, Machida looked to be in true vintage form when he put away Ryan Bader in the second round with a well placed knockout punch. Earlier in the week the announcement from the UFC was that the winner of the Shogun/Vera fight would be declared the #1 contender to the light heavyweight title. After fan outcry, it was changed to whoever won the most impressively in the main event or co-main event. And that ended up being Machida. Machida was not able to capitalize on the opportunity for a rematch with Jon Jones when it became available, but Machida was once again able to recover from a tough loss with a stunning win.
3) Donald Cerrone: Cerrone's stock continues to rise in the shark-infested waters of the UFC lightweight division. Cerrone ended up fighting his former training partner and also good friend in Melvin Guillard. Cerrone got rocked extremely hard early but recovered and fired back with a head kick that wobbled Guillard and then put the Young Assassin away with a hard punch. Cerrone has now shown he's dangerous with his grappling and his striking. And now he's in a position to fight Anthony Pettis in a fight that will likely determine the next top contender at lightweight.
4) Ben Henderson: A more decisive victory would've put Bendo higher up on this list. Bendo made it through another tough, close fight with the former champion in Frankie Edgar. Ben Henderson was able to take the fight to Edgar early by snapping off some sharp leg kicks and almost submitting Edgar with a guillotine choke. Like Butterfield, I think with Edgar at featherweight now it will be a division he will dominate for a while.
5) Miesha Tate: The former champ was put through the ringer against Julie Kedzie at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman, but she rallied and still came out victorious. The fight was unfortunately put on the prelims (still broadcast on Showtime Extreme though). Kedzie, a longtime veteran, brought a tough fight to Tate and dropped her multiple times. Cupcake came back with a fight saving armbar to get the finish and then went to Disneyland to celebrate her birthday. Way to go Cupcake.
1) Ronda Rousey:
Regardless of who else fights during the same month as "the Rowdy One", you can expect her to sit at the top of my rankings, and when she's performed as impressively as she did against Sarah Kaufman, I don't even think it's an argument. Rousey is the most dominant champion in MMA right now, having never been out of the first round and never really finding herself in any danger in any of her professional fights. As such, when she performs, she's easily deserving of this top spot, and that's not even taking into consideration that she is the face of Women's MMA, which means that everything she does has extra gravitas attached to it.
2) Benson Henderson: Not the most impressive victory for the UFC's lightweight champion; however, he's still the UFC's lightweight champion and being the only other champion to defend his title in the month of August, that's good enough for second.
3) Lyoto Machida: With an impressive (and completely expected) victory over Ryan Bader, Machida earned himself a rematch at light heavyweight champion Jon Jones...only to promptly lose said shot to Vitor Belfort by turning down a fight with Jones at the end of September. Still though, outside of Shogun and Jones (and a fluke decision against Rampage), Machida has been largely unbeatable, so it's likely he'll be stepping into the cage against Jones again sooner rather than later.
4) Donald Cerrone: Cerrone should've been knocked out in the first round against Melvin Guillard. Should've. Amazingly though, he survived a huge counter punch (and the follow-up knee and elbow), only to turn around and land a head kick/punch combination that turned out Guillard's lights. By showing that he win both safely (against Jeremy Stephens) and aggressively (against Guillard), Cerrone is putting himself back into lightweight title contention, and a rematch against either Benson Henderson or Nate Diaz is a fight that I would gladly pay to watch.
5) Attila Vegh: So not only did Vegh win the Bellator Summer Series 2012 Light Heavyweight Tournament, in doing so, he easily defeated Travis Wiuff, who is the first man to defeat a sitting Bellator champion in a non-title superfight. That has to give Vegh all the confidence in the world heading into his as-yet-unscheduled title fight with champion Christian M'Pumbu.
1) Ronda Rousey:
Ronda Rousey made short work of yet another opponent as she submitted Sara Kaufman with an armbar in the first round. Rousey remains unbeaten, and quite frankly looks like she won't lose anytime in the near future. Impressive victory, impressive title defense, she's pretty easily the fighter of the month.
2) Benson Henderson: Whether you agree with the decision or not, the reality is that Benson Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar to successfully defend the lightweight championship. Henderson is now the only guy to beat Edgar more than once, and will be looking ahead to a title defense against Nate Diaz on big FOX near the end of the year.
3) Lyoto Machida: Despite turning down a short notice title fight against Jon Jones, Lyoto Mahcida did knock out Ryan Bader and earn a potential future opportunity at the title. He'll likely need at least one more win, but Machida has started looking like he wants to wear the light heavyweight belt again.
4) Donald Cerrone: Cerrone's fight with Melvin Guillard didn't last long, but it was incredibly memorable. Cerrone's incredible chin survived an early flurry from Guillard, and he came back with a head kick and a nasty right hand that absolutely turned off Guillard's lights. Cerrone continues to march back towards title contention.
5) Andrei Arlovski: Yeah, it was a slow month, but the guy didn't lose, and got to soccer kick Tim Sylvia in the face. That's pretty much win all the way around from where I sit.
1) Ronda Rousey :
The "Face of Women's MMA" scored a nice victory over her toughest opponent and made it look easy. The fact that everyone knows what Rousey will do to them in the cage yet still can't stop her is a testament to her strength and skill as a grappler. Unfortunately, I don't see many big fights in her future, as I doubt Cyborg will ever make weight to fight her and I don't think many other opponents will even be viewed as legitimate challengers. Here's hoping her and Sara McMann get a chance to mix it up in the cage sometime soon.
2) Donald Cerrone : The Cowboy may be the most exciting fighter at 155 pounds these days, and his head-kick and punch knockout over Melvin Guillard demonstrated why he shouldn't ever be underestimated. Cerrone ate a hard shot early in the fight, but fought threw it and came out victorious. Here's hoping we see him fight Anthony Pettis sometime in the near future.
3) Benson Henderson: I didn't put Henderson higher because while he retained his title (which is important), his victory was by the skin of his teeth and he may very well have been given a gift from the judges. Still, a win is a win, so I doubt Ben is crying. His next matchup against Nate Diaz should be fireworks.
4) Lyoto Machida : Lyoto hasn't looked good in his past few fights, but it was nice to see him return to form against Ryan Bader. Machida did what he does best; patiently picked his shots until Bader rushed in, at which point The Dragon cold-cocked him and won the fight. Thankfully, Machida isn't facing Jon Jones next, because I don't think he'll fare any better in a rematch. A tiebreaker against Shogun or a fight with Dan Henderson seems like logical match making.
5) Atilla Vegh : Not many people, including me, gave Vegh much of a shot of beating Travis Wiuff in this fight, simply because Wiuff has been able to smother every opponent he's faced in Bellator. Well, Vegh didn't listen to the doubters and knocked Wiuff unconscious with a crisp combination that had the ref stopping the action before Wiuff even knew what hit him. Next up Vegh will try to work the same magic and win the Light Heavyweight Title.
1) Ronda Rousey:
What's there to say? She finished Sarah Kaufman in under a minute with her patented armbar. Plus, she laid down the challenge to former featherweight champion Cris Cyborg that has since gone unanswered. She's one of the biggest stars in the sport right now and arguably one of the most popular female athletes in the country, too!
2) Miesha Tate: Now THAT'S how you bounce back after losing your championship! In the main event slot of the Strikeforce prelims, Miesha Tate and Julie Kedzie had a classic and my early pick for fight of the year. Both women appeared like they were an inch away from winning the fight, but it was Tate's (ironic) armbar that sealed the deal.
3) Benson Henderson: Well, Bendo is still the champion. Even though his rematch with Frankie Edgar was not decisive either way, Benson is the top dog in the lightweight division. Going 2-0 against Edgar is some kind of impressive and he now prepares for Nate Diaz.
4) Marcos Galvao: Finally, Galvao won the Bellator bantamweight tournament by knocking out Luis Nogueira. The emotional win (his mother passed away earlier this year) sets Galvao up for a title shot against friend and current champion Eduardo Dantas.
5) Joe Lauzon: J-Lau emerged the winner in the best fight of the 4th UFC on Fox show. Against Jamie Varner, the two had a back-and-forth battle leading to Lauzon's third round win with a triangle choke. No matter who is opponent is, you must love watching Lauzon fight.
1) Ronda Rousey:
In 54 seconds Rousey submitted Kaufman and cemented herself as the face women's MMA, the top draw in Strikeforce, and one of the most dominant champions in MMA today. After the fight, Rousey continued to call out Cyborg. I really hope that fight happens but I'll gladly settle for a Rousey-McMann fight while we wait.
2) Donald Cerrone: The Cowboy picked up Knockout and Fight of the Night at UFC 150. Cerrone got rocked hard by Guillard early in the round but he was able to bounce back and hit Guillard with a nice head kick right hand combo to pull out the victory. Now it appears we'll get Cerrone vs. Pettis in a number one contender fight.
3) Joe Lauzon: Stole the show at FOX 4 as he had a great fight with Jamie Varner. The back and forth fight was one of the best of the year and Lauzon earned Submission and Fight of the Night honors. Lauzon is one of the most exciting fighters around today and he has a chance to break through to the top of the division with his upcoming fight with Gray Maynard.
4) Benson Henderson: It was a far from decisive victory over Frankie Edgar but nonetheless he is still the lightweight champion. His first title defense was a pretty good fight even though the decision sucked and he has to now prepare for Nate Diaz.
5) Miesha Tate: Tate won a great fight against Julie Kezdie in her first fight since dropping the title to Rousey. Unfortunately it was on the preliminary card and it was against a midcard fighter. But it still earns her a spot on the list in a fairly quiet month.
Honorable Mention: Joe Louzon - (4 points)
5th Place Attila Vegh and Miesha Tate - (6 points)
4th Place - Donald Cerrone - (16 points)
3rd Place - Lyoto Machida - (19 points)
He ended Ryan Bader with relative ease at UFC on FOX 4…
2nd Place - Benson Henderson - (25 points)
Even with the controversial decision, Henderson is still your reigning and defending UFC Lightweight Champion…
411's Fighter of the Month for AUGUST - Ronda Rousey - (40 points)
Oops!...She Did It Again…
2012 Year-End Standings
Here are the updated standings below…
A NEW RULE FOR 2012 is as follows: if a fighter ranked on the yearend list LOSES a fight they will lose 5 points. Also, after much discussion, if a fighter is suspended by an athletic commission, they lose any points accumulated.
Remember to come back net month for the next edition of 411's Fighter of the Month!
Ronda Rousey – 30pts.
Ben Henderson - 27pts.
Junior Dos Santos – 15pts. Anderson Silva – 15pts. Jon Jones – 15pts. Jose Aldo – 15pts.
Nate Diaz - 12pts. Chris Weidman - 12pts. Alexander Gustafsson - 12pts. Carlos Condit - 12pts. Pat Curran – 12 pts.
Daniel Cormier – 9pts. Lyoto Machida – 9pts. Renan Barao – 9pts. Michael McDonald – 9pts. Martin Kampmann - 9pts.
Rashad Evans – 7pts. (Deducted 5 points for loss to Jon Jones)
Cain Velazquez - 6pts. Donald Cerrone - 6pts. Nate Marquardt – 6pts. Luke Rockhold – 6pts. Anthony Pettis - 6pts. Joseph Benavidez - 6pts.
Jake Ellenberger - 4pts. (Deducted 5 points for loss to Martin Kampmann) Chael Sonnen – 4pts. (Deducted 5 points for loss to Anderson Silva)
Miesha Tate – 3pts. Attila Vegh – (3pts.) The Korean Zombie – 3pts. Ryan Jimmo – 3pts. Rory MacDonald – 3pts. Tim Boetsch - 3pts.
Alan Belcher – 1pt. Joe Lauzon – 1pt. Siyar Bahadurzada– 1pt. Vitor Belfort – 1pt. Mark Hunt - 1pts. Kazou Misaki – 1pt. Karl Amoussou – 1pt. Eduardo Dantas – 1 pts.(Deducted 5 points for loss to Tyson Nam)
Jim Miller – (-2 pts.)(Deducted 5 points for loss to Nick Diaz) Lloyd Woodward – (-2 pts.) (Deducted 5 points for loss to Rick Hawn)
Year-End Rankings Key:
UFC Contracted Fighters are represented in BLUE.
Strikeforce Contracted Fighters are represented in RED.
Japanese Contracted Fighters are represented in MAROON.
Bellator Contracted Fighters are represented in GOLD.